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Australian climate politics in 2017: a guide for the perplexed

Marc Hudson writes in The Conversation (2.1.17) about the state of climate change debate in Australia as the federal government continues its review of climate policies this year. The author suggests that, if the nature of debate so far has seemed ‘ugly’, the process might not improve any time soon.

‘If you thought the climate debate has been ugly, you haven’t seen anything yet. In 2017 Australia will review its climate policies, and the process is not off to a good start.

‘To recap: with the release of the climate review’s terms of reference at the end of 2016, the federal environment and energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, appeared to place on the table an emissions intensity scheme (a widely supported form of carbon pricing). He then wisely went to Antarctica.

‘After its day in the sun, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull swiftly backtracked in part due to pressure from conservatives within the Coalition. By allowing a small group of politicians to take the most cost-effective policy off the table at the outset, Turnbull has made the coming year(s) that much harder to manage.

‘In the same week, Chief Scientist Alan Finkel reported his initial findings on the security of the National Electricity Market. He stated that his review “will continue to analyse all the options to ensure future security of power supply and compliance with climate obligations”.

‘And that was only 2016 …’

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